Monkeys and Monks!

So, it’s been another hot and humid week in KL! So hot that we’ve had rip roaring thunderstorms some nights which are so exciting by the way! They’re more intense and not like the pathetic flash and crash in the UK, we’re talking blinding flash, BOOM, crash and ‘lets chuck every single piece of furniture on the floor and try and cause the sky to crack and cave in’ kind of thunder = awesome!  Anyway, that’s enough of talking about the weather like a typical Brit!

I have had a mixed week of plotting and planning as well as sight seeing and making new friends in the big City! My plotting has been calculated down to a ‘T’ and I must say, I’m quite proud of myself (and quite shocked actually) as to my organisation for my onward journey. So, organisation….a word I can so far proudly present on my CV and believe in haha! But I will tell you nearer the end of the post what the Readdy plans to do!

So I’ve been doing a lot of socialising over here! Yes, even if I can’t always understand what my new Malaysian friends are saying, actions really speak louder than any language and we’ve been having a laugh and getting along great. On Sunday we actually went to a gathering at one of Zaidi’s (Shazreens husband) friends house…we were all sitting around tooting on flavoured Shisa’s, very nice (even though they are ridiculously bad for you!)

Batu Caves

Shazreen kindly dropped me off at the gates and left me to go exploring on my todd. Wow, this place is amazing! The first thing you simply cannot miss is the ginormous gold Hindu statue based near the entrance of Batu Caves. So, what do I do first? I take a look around and see what this place is all about.

There are various gimmicky, tourist shops darted all over the place displaying their ‘I love KL’ T-shirts and an array of smells coming from all the food stalls which are lined up trying to entice you in but I ignore those and take a walk to the left of the statue. A long walkway takes you past coconut stalls and a Hindu temple where I can see people either praying or sleeping and at the end of the walkway is a huge pale green statue (another Hindu god which has a monkey for a face!). So I stop near the coconut stall and watch a while as the shop keeper hacks open a coconut, drops a straw in and hands one to a tourist and what do I see next……a monkeys head pops up from out the bin next to me!! OMG, it’s a monkey! (I should be getting used to this by now!) Haha, I’m thinking to myself ‘Ah look at him, he’s rummaging in the bin!’  Enthusiastically, he jumps out grasping a can of Iced Tea! Another monkey comes out of nowhere carrying a coconut and another with a bottle of pop probably from his bin find too! So out comes the camera and I’m snapping away, nevermind the caves, there’s a monkey with a bottle of pop haha! Right enough of that..I go to the end to check out the Monkey faced Hindu God. Woah…there are monkeys running around all over the place! Indians are chucking sunflower seeds at them to encourage them to hang around for the tourists (performing monkeys hey!) so again, camera is out and I’m snapping away trying to get ‘the’ shot of the mum and baby monkey!

‘Monkied’ out, it’s time I headed for the main attraction! Right, so um, 272 steps to the top! Ok, here goes, nice and slowly does it! It’s sweltering hot, so hot you can feel the sweat slowly trickle down your back, nice! I’m hoping no one can see it clinging to my blue T-shirt but everyone’s the same so nevermind! I purposely stop at nicely paced intervals to take snaps (and to catch my breath) along the way up!

More monkeys! They’re everywhere and they’re so tame! Maybe too tame, I was told an American got bitten that day because he wouldn’t give the monkey some of his food! There looks to be a ‘side cave’ entrance so I go in here to explore….Urghhh, it smells so bad! No one’s going all the way in so I’ll carry on to the main entrance. Wow, real life monks!! I see 4 Buddhist Monks also walking up the stairs in their orange wraps (or habits I think they’re called)…crikey, they must be so hot in them! When I reached the top, I asked if I could take a photo of one of them…I was told to kneel before him and then take the photo.

As soon as you get inside, you can hear bats squeaking and fluttering about but the other thing I notice is the breeze, arrhhh, that’s so nice! There are statues, pictures and hindu temples tucked in the walls of the cave. Wait a second, music….sounds like a drum and a sitar! Wow, there are Hindu’s praying! The Monks are even joining in with the prayer session! So I video some of the procession on my camera for the memory bank!

Monks! 

So I’m walking out of the caves to go back down and see the Monks following shortly behind. They’re stopping to chat to some of the tourists and I see the Master Monk handing out beaded necklaces…I must have one of those, wow, a gift from a MONK! So I rush over and feel like I’m joining a que of tourists all wanting one. It was like a scene out of a comedy sketch to finally get to the master monk to be shown the hand! Talk to the hand cos I’m all out of necklaces….gutted! That would have meant so much to me but hey ho.

Anyways, I get chatting to one of the other monks (named Wor Magatee) and he tells me how he’s visited London before (I love that about foreigners, when you say you’re from the UK, they all assume you’re from London) and that he trains and resides in the Kings Temple in Bangkok! I explained how I’d love to stay and volunteer in a temple for the experience and get this….Wor Magatee and the Master Monk said I am very welcome to stay at the temple and they will look after me! OMG! Wow! This is amazing and way better than getting a beaded monks necklace! Wor Magatee exchanged his facebook page with me so we can keep in touch for my arrival in Bangkok! Yep, Monks on facebook, still makes me chuckle!!

So with a spring in my step and a new monk for a friend, I go off to find some food from one of the many stalls!

Monkey Restaurant! 

Saturday 16th I spent time with my new friends Dhilla and Ramsdhay oh and a new guy called ‘Podgey’ (which of course is his nickname!) We drove to a place called Bukit Melawati in Selangor where you can feed tame monkeys!

So armed with long beans, we parked up, took a short tram ride up to the feeding point and eagerly waited to feed some monkeys! Well, you didn’t need to wait long hah! As soon as they see you have food in your hand, that’s it, it’s getting snatched hah!

The monkeys are sweet little things, very tame and clearly used to the tourist feeding frenzy! More trams delivering more tourists = banquet right!! They’ll never go hungry here!

I walk about trying to feed different monkeys when I meet some Americans who are taking each others pictures…one with a long bean hanging out of his mouth and the other one ordering  “Go on, get closer, get the monkey to take it right out of your mouth!” Was quite funny actually!  So I take some pics for them and vice versa! Coincidentally,  they are also going to Bangkok in 2wks time! I’m starting to wonder if they’ll also be headed for Chiang Mai to visit the Hill Tribes like me!

My next target is to take photos of the baby monkeys eating! Awkwardly,  I try to take photos with one hand and hold the long beans out with the other hand and wait….hold on….where are they all going?? They all rush over to an Indian guy who is feeding them pringles! Cheeky lil *#@!! Well, what can I say….junk food wins hands down!

After the monkeys, we then drove to visit some Malaysian Government buildings and then sat and admired Putrajaya Bridge which is pretty cool by night, it’s all lit up and changes through the colours of the rainbow!

Next move

So…..before I hit Chiang Mai on 6th April, I needed to find out firstly how the hell I get to Bangkok from Malaysia! Yes you can fly but it’s more expensive for the low budget backpacker so I had to source every avenue possible. I have been advised against buses (in and around Thailand anyways) as they’re apparently not too safe so opted for the train, at least that way I get to take in the view the safest (but slowest) way possible. I have actually created a ‘geek sheet’! My geek sheet is basically a table of days / times / mode of transport / hotels staying in etc etc..and it’s proving very useful!

So, straight to Bangkok or shall I stop along the way and start my exploring adventure?? After much deliberation, I have decided to stay and volunteer in a Monkey Training College in Surat Thani! Yup, a training college to teach monkeys how to ‘farm’ coconuts! How cool!

I will be leaving Malaysia on Friday 29th March and headed for Surat Thani, Thailand. It will take me 2 trains (consisting of 16hrs travel time) and 2 overnight hotel stops. Once I’m there, I will spend a week living in a hut right next to the monkeys and learning how to train and look after them! Yeh I could have gone to the beach for a week but c’mon, once I’m deep in the heart of  Thailand, I will be seeing beaches everywhere so I wanted to do something a little different!

I’m really looking forward to my stay at the college! Seems they really do look after their monkeys too and they train them with kindness and respect.

The owner has agreed (for a small fee of course) to pick me up from Surat Thani train station and also back again for my next train headed for Bangkok! Hey, they’ve even said as I’ll be staying in the hut on my own, I can ‘borrow’ one of their dogs for company haha! Awesome! Bummer is, they don’t have internet arrrgghhh! Oh well, guess I will have to get used to that sooner or later!

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